“Holding onto the past won’t make it repeat,” Corin Tucker sings on “Despierata,” the Filthy Friends’ angry, tuneful entry to the anti-Trump “30 Songs, 30 Days” project, and lead track from their new album, “Invitation,” out Friday via Kill Rock Stars. That’s good advice to anyone wearing a red MAGA cap, but history has been pretty good to these Friends. The band brings together the talents of Sleater-Kinney’s Tucker, guitarist Kurt Bloch (the Fastbacks, Young Fresh Fellows), drummer Bill Rieflin (King Crimson), Peter Buck (who should need no introduction unless R.E.M. is in your musical blind spot), and his spirit animal/bassist Scott McCaughey. They make just the kind of rousing, razor-sharp, pounding, tuneful rock their collective pasts would lead you to expect.
Tucker howls like the second-coming of Patti Smith while Buck and Bloch’s guitars riff and tangle like vintage Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd, and Rieflin and McCaughey hold down a hard-hitting beat. And sure, the album sounds a little like R.E.M. and Sleater-Kinney, but not always in the ways you’d think. Buck’s guitars are dirtier and looser, Tucker’s melodies, lustrous and anthemic. On the title track, they move into poppier territory, with a kicky little shuffle that admits “time is always pushing me along.” No matter what style they choose, the album exudes a relaxed, good times vibe; a side project done because … well, why the hell not?
The video for “Despierata” gives off a similar mood. The band (with Linda Pitmon from the Miracle 3 replacing Rieflin behind the drum kit) plays a backyard show, while fans desperately try to find them. Los Angeles fans won’t have to work that hard, as they play the Teragram Ballroom on Aug. 30.
||| Watch: The video for “Despierata”
||| Also: Stream “The Arrival”
||| Live: Filthy Friends open for Dressy Bessy on Aug. 30 at the Teragram Ballroom. Tickets.